Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa transfer news: Gerrard turns to Sunderland midfielder as issue emerges for No 1 target

Dan Neil, Sunderland midfielder in action during League 1 game v Lincoln at Stadium of Light

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is reportedly turning his focus to the capture of Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil after encountering a big problem in their pursuit for Yves Bissouma.

The January transfer window has already proved extremely productive for Villa and Gerrard. Fresh from the exciting signing of Philippe Coutinho, a £25m deal to snare Lucas Digne from Everton has also been done. The Villans are not done there though, with a report stating Gerrard wants up to six signings this month.

And next on Gerrard’s agenda is the signing of a new central midfielder. To that end, Brighton’s Bissouma is emerging as his No 1 target.

The Malian is regarded as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders outside the top six. However, any deal will not come cheap and will likely set Villa back a club record fee.

He currently has just 18 months left on his deal, a fact that has alerted not only Villa, but also Liverpool too.

Brighton are understandably ready to open talks with Bissouma over an extension at the Amex. He is a crucial element in Graham Potter’s side and is a big factor behind their safe placing in mid-table.

And while Bissouma is likely to reject offers of an extension, it seems Brighton are in no mood to part with their prized asset mid season.

Indeed, while Potter won’t sell this month, he has intimated at a parting of ways in the months ahead.

Potter in no hurry to sell

“The contract is something between the player and the club,” Potter said (via MEN).

“We are comfortable with where we are at, we know the situation. I will just try to help him when he comes back from the AFCON and help him get back to his best.

Yves Bissouma to cost Aston Villa, Liverpool £50m

Liverpool and Aston Villa will pursue Yves Bissouma despite the £50m cost set by Brighton

“When he does that, he is a top player. We want to keep all our players but I also understand the way the market is and the way football is. We understand where we are in the football pyramid.

“You know that things can happen. But my expectation is that we’ll have a strong squad come the end of the transfer window.”

And with Brighton unwilling to sell now, Gerrard and Co are instead looking to Sunderland’s Neil.

Dan Neil grabbing Villa attention

With Villa likely to draw a blank, for now at least, for Bissouma, attention is turning towards Wearside.

Indeed, Gerrard is reportedly now firmly on the trail of the 20-year-old Neil.

He’s enjoying a breakout season at the Stadium of Light, playing 32 times for the Black Cats.

He’s previously been linked with Leeds, while Burnley are also on his trail.

However, a firm offer from Sunderland would give the League One side a big dilemma.

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman, however, insists his side do not need to sell.

“We don’t need to lose anybody right now,” he said, as per the Newcastle Chronicle.

“The whole purpose of the project is to build those assets and develop that strength in depth, and there’s nothing better than having teams interested in your players because that does suggest that good things are occurring.

“But we won’t be entertaining any of those players leaving in the window, they are motivated by Sunderland getting to where we want to get to at the end of the season.”

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